Search more articles

Human beings and Environment

 Human beings and Environment

Every year World Environment Day is celebrated  on 5th June for scaling up awareness and action for the protection of our environment. We may better understood the meaning of environment  from Oxford dictionary which states that  the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives.

The environment can affect human health as the good environment means good health and hazardous environment may lead to health hazard. Many illness inter alia, increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, just because of the environmental hazards. The hazards can be physical, such as pollution, toxic chemicals, excessive use of cell phone, and consuming unhealthy food, or they can be social, such as unsafe work, poor housing conditions, urban slump and poverty.

For almost five decades, on World Environment Day we raise awareness about the issues. The theme for 2019 was  “Air Pollution” and the host nation was China. In 2018, the host nation was India and the theme was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The Indian government has pledged to eliminate all single use of plastic in India by 2022. If the environment is hazardous then human beings will be affected in the following ways:

Food: Pesticides and other chemicals used in food production badly effects human beings and animals. In many cases, it was proved that whatever pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used in the agricultural fields finally go to the nearby water bodies with a single rain and  thus water is polluted.

Water: The human body consists of up to 70% water. In reality only 2.5% of water on the planet is drinkable and it becomes clear why protecting our water supply is so important.

Air: Motor vehicles and industrial emissions impact human health too, as these sources contain dangerous pollutants like mercury and sulphur dioxide.

According to a report co-authored by international relief and development agency Tearfund, conservation charity Fauna and Flora International; Institute of Development of Studies (IDS) and waste management charity Waste Aid, alarming effects of plastic pollution are:

* One person dies every 30 seconds in developing countries from illnesses and diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and cancer caused by living near uncollected waste and plastic pollution.

* Open-air burning of plastic and rubbish in developing countries adds to carbon emissions contributing to climate change.

Patrick Schröder, research fellow at Institute for Development Studies, and co-author of the report said: “Plastic pollution is damaging our planet and our lives. The current model of ‘take, make, and waste’ is unsustainable. Businesses, governments and citizens need to embrace a ‘circular economy’ that promotes sustainable consumption and production and reduces environmental impacts”.

According to the UN assessment of the state of nature report released on May 6, 2019, “Humanity is rapidly destroying the natural world upon which our prosperity — and ultimately our survival — depend, according to a landmark. Changes wrought by decades of pillaging and poisoning forests, oceans, soil and air threaten society at least as much as climate change,” said Robert Watson, who chaired the 132-nation meeting that validated a summary for policymakers forged by 450 experts. Further, they reported one million animal and plant species face extinction, many within decades.

In India, pollution is creating problems in the following ways:

Air Pollution: Air pollution is one of the worst scourges to have affected India. According to a report of International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2040 there are likely to be about 9 lakh premature deaths in the country due to the drastic rise in air pollution in the country. Average life expectancy is likely to go down by about 15 months because of air pollution. India is also home to 11 out of 20 of the most polluted (in terms of air pollution) cities in the entire world. According to the rankings of the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, India ranks 141 out of 180 countries in terms of air pollution.

Groundwater Depletion: Rapidly depleting levels of groundwater is one of the biggest threats to food security and livelihood in the country. According to various reports, excessive exploitation of limited groundwater resources for irrigation of cash crops such as sugarcane has caused a 6 percentage point decline in the availability of water within 10 metres from ground level. Low rainfall and drought are also reasons for groundwater depletion.

Climate Change: In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded a temperature of 51 degrees Celsius – the highest ever in the country. The increasingly tormenting heat waves in the past years are but an indication that global warming and climate change are real challenges that the country is facing now. With the Himalayan glaciers melting at an alarming rate, floods and other such natural disasters are occurring with increasing frequency.

Use of Plastics: Unrestrained use of plastics is another major concern for the country. According to data from the Plastindia Foundation, India’s demand for polymers went up from 11 million tonnes in 2012-13 to about 16.5 million tonnes in 2016-17. India’s per capita plastic consumption went up from about 4 kilograms in 2006 to some 8 kilograms in 2010. By 2020, this is likely to shoot up to about 27 kilograms.

Loss of Biodiversity: According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red Data Book, some 47 species of plants and animals in India are listed as critically endangered. Loss of ecology and natural habitats have left many indigenous species, including the Siberian crane, Himalayan wolf and Kashmir stag in grave danger of going extinct.

Everyone is a stakeholder as we are all inhabitants of this one and only mother Earth. Each person can contribute something to advance environmental pollution mitigation measures.

Featured post

How to Write Effective Literature Review

A literature review is an essential component of any research project or academic paper. It involves identifying, evaluating, and summarizin...